Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, October, 2018

posted Oct 3, 2018, 11:07 AM by Lois Kerchner

To the Glory of God Alone


Notable musicians have been known to initial their musical compositions in the margin with the letters SDG, which represented the Latin words Soli Deo Gloria. An English translation of these words would be “Glory to God alone.” Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and other musical composers used this designation to signify that their music was produced in order to praise God and for that purpose only.

Today J.S. Bach is regarded as one of the most brilliant composers ever.  While the people of his day recognized Bach as a great organist, they never considered him as a great composer. When he died in 1750, his music was thought to be old-fashioned and had been forgotten by most people. It was not until almost 80 years later that the music of Bach was rediscovered.


In 1829, the composer Felix Mendelssohn found a copy of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion (the story of Jesus' crucifixion and death) and decided to perform it. Those who heard this performance of Bach's music loved it! They wondered why his musical compositions had been forgotten. Now that the music world had rediscovered Bach, they began performing his works at concerts and in churches around the world. Bach became much more famous a hundred years after his death than he had ever been while he was alive. But it was never really his desire to become famous. His desire was to glorify God. Today his music is played and studied around the world. It is used in nearly every Christian denomination. It's safe to say that many people now agree that Bach's music truly is Soli Deo Gloria - "to the glory of God alone!" J.S. Bach recognized that he had been gifted by God with a special talent for music. He developed that talent with diligent and rigorous practicing. We all have certain God given talents or abilities that can be developed and put to use for the glory and praise of our Creator God.


I saw this story in devotional material from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. During the bombing raids over Germany in WWII, a certain church was destroyed to the extent there appeared to be nothing left but a heap of rubble and broken glass. In the process of cleaning away the masonry ruins, however, a statue of Christ was found still standing erect. It remained undamaged in spite of all the bombing with the exception that both hands were missing. A famous sculptor in seeing this offered to carve new hands as it came time for rebuilding to begin.


When church officials met to consider the sculptor's kindly gesture, they decided not to accept the offer with the following rational. While the broken statue of Christ remained able to touch human spirits, it had no hands to minister to the needy or feed the hungry or help the poor – except their hands. They said, “He (Christ) inspires, but we perform.”

May we as 21st Century followers of Christ commit our lives in loving service SDG – “To the glory of God alone.” 


George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries